You hear “chill out music” and you’d be forgiven for imagining whale music or sounds of the rainforest.
But there’s a whole world of chilled-out tunes that aren’t souped-up ambient white noise. If you need a bit of time to reflect, to realign yourself, to help meditate, sleep or study, then plug in a pair of big, fat, noise-cancelling headphones and pump the play button on this relaxing playlist.
From jazz to acoustic and beyond, it’s designed for continuous listening, and will do the trick to reel you in from being a tightly-wound juggernaut stampeding your way between meetings and deadlines, to as loose and relaxed as a damp flannel.
Five tracks to watch out for:
Exchange by Massive Attack
Simply put, this is what Bristol’s finest vibe-merchants do best: take an Isaac Hayes loop, add some soft beats and the vocals of Horace Andy and work it into a blissed-out masterwork.
Chicago by Sufjan Stevens
A comforting mix of strings, trumpets and twinkly sleigh bells – peppered with dulcet, self-deprecating man tones – make this story of a young man driving to Chicago in a van a soul-soothing ode to alt-folky freedom.
Rain by John Coltrane
‘Petrichor’ is a beautiful word that describes the pleasing scent that accompanies the first rain after a dry spell. Perhaps jazz supremo John Coltrane had it mind when he recorded this blissful convergence of questing sax lines and shimmering hi-hats.
Valentine by Jessie Ware & Sampha
Two British singers construct a chiming bass lullaby, as warm and welcoming as a velvet blanket.
1/1 by Brian Eno
The birth of ambient. Critically derided by many on its release in 1978, Eno’s landmark recording ‘Music for Airports’ uses tape loops to create a soothing, ever-evolving series of instrumental patterns. Opening track ‘1/1’, written with the help of musical polymath and former Soft Machine man Robert Wyatt, delights with its naggingly beautiful piano melody. It’s still the ambient benchmark.